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Xerobank (XB) VPN Review

Editor's Overall Rating: 
4 User Reviews
Xerobank (XB) VPN Review
Editor's Rating
Order to Installation
Software/GUI
Ease of Use
Features
Network & Speed
Help & Support
Scope of Protection
Overall Rating


Site: www.xerobank.com
Site languages: En

Xerobank (XB) VPN INTRODUCTION

Xerobank provides OpenVPN security utilizing OpenVPN.org’s standard GUI and sys tray icon. The offering is at the high end of the market price range. Although Xerobank claims ‘Advanced Technology’, the product is really a copy of the OpenVPN standard with no alterations to the features of the standard GUI. The server choice is limited because Xerobank provides preset combinations that may or may not serve users’ needs and only has exit servers in the USA, Canada, France and the Netherlands. There are some real issues with Xerobank’s intrusive installation process (requires your windows logon credentials!) and links to scam businesses directly from its Quick Guide and tutorial materials. Xerobank does not have a banking license and appears to sell VPN services as well as scam University dissertations. Aside from OpenVPN, the offer includes an anonymizer browser launched from the desktop as well as encrypted email. We are only reviewing the OpenVPN product at this time.

Review Summary

Xerobank is not what the website would like you to believe it is. When you add all the misrepresentations that the company makes with links to scam businesses, the ruse to obtain your windows logon, use of an Iceland payment provider and the lack of disclosure about monthly billing plus bandwidth billing, you get the feeling that the deeper one looks, the worse it could get. I definitely would not recommend this VPN service (this is the first such negative review) and if you were unfortunate enough, like me, to download the installer, uninstall, run a good malware and change all your windows logon credentials.

Xerobank (XB) VPN PROS:
• Standard OpenVPN GUI with improved installation (files don’t have to be manually placed in the config file)
• Unlimited Free switching between servers (4 countries)

Xerobank (XB) VPN CONS:
• Standard OpenVPN application with no features
• Exit servers only in 4 countries and all in cooperative regions
• Latency in excess of 10% on server tests that are generally less than 5%
• Claimed network configuration cannot be verified and appears to be of the same credibility as the intellectual property claimed- but which is nothing more than open source OpenVPN
• Installation procedure demands user windows logon credentials which OpenVPN does not require – No one requires your windows logon credentials for any reason other than to have a back door into your computer. We cannot recommend this service to anyone.
• Quick Guide and tutorials link to scam businesses – Fake dissertations for universities
• Use of an Iceland payment provider. Iceland is not off shore it’s merely bankrupt.
• Billing – you can be billed monthly AND if you exceed bandwidth limitations. And it’s recurring!
• Support never answered any emails queries posed to them. It appears there is no support.
• Dynamic IP with no Fixed IPs for using with PayPal & Credit Card merchants
• Does not support IPv6
• Does not provide a fastest server in the application- so you can’t chose a server with low latency
• Aggressively provides information to police enforcement agencies which contradicts the spirit if not the language of the privacy policy
• Some users complain that Firefox Geo Location defeats Xerobank’s anonymity
• Poor FAQs, very limited Troubleshooting, No support
• No automation on start up, several clicks to start which is tiresome if you restart your VPN several times a day
• Although there is an extensive team at the website, there appears to be no active involvement in the company other than by Steve Topletz

Full Review

From Order to Installation: ½☆☆☆☆ 

With Xerobank you can begin downloading the client tool within a half hour if you use a credit card (in my case it took 15 minutes). I received my login credentials in a few minutes after my Checkout and was able to start the download process a few minutes later.

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Xerobank utilizes its own electronic download for the executable application. It runs quickly and there were no problems during the execution. During user registration the following screen came up:

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This sends you to transaction details where you can decide to allow rebilling or not. Its set to default rebill, so if you don’t want to be rebilled you better click on order number and set to ‘No’ and click ‘process’ otherwise you will be rebilled automatically.

But you cannot do anything until you receive the Welcome Mail from Xerobank. Initially you will get mails from dalpay.com the payment provider (some outfit in Iceland – that country’s banks recently defrauded European depositors out of Billions and the country is now nearly bankrupt), but it can take a good one to 2 hours before you get the Welcome Mail and during that time you may try to use the Transaction Login code, but it won’t do you any good to initiate the registration process during the download. Wait patiently for the Welcome mail and you will get the activation code. It’s unfortunate that Xerobank does not warn you that it can take a couple of hours to receive the Welcome mail or better that it should go out at about the same time as the order confirmation. Also it’s unfortunate that Xerobank calls it the Access Number or Transaction ID. The transaction ID is found in the order confirmation and does not activate your account. The Welcome mail should call it the same as the user registration display: Access Number (and not Access Account). It would make life easier for countless users.

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Finally you get the correct access code from the Welcome mail and you get to the next screen display:

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Who knows what component to choose? On the right hand side, “the description states position your mouse over a component to see its description”. Unfortunately it doesn’t work. So now I have to pause the registration process and go find out what is the difference between the browser component and VPN component. I suspect it’s the VPN component, but I want to be sure…

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Ok, I understand now. I can have some form of OpenVPN as well as a portable xB Browser that I can port through my USB stick when I’m away from my computer (requires 38Mb vs. 4Mb for the VPN only). Nifty but very poorly explained beforehand. This should not be something I have to research about during an installation process!

At this point in the set up put in your PIN code but don’t lose it or forget it as it’s not retrievable by Xerobank:

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We are not done yet. During the installation process Xerobank forces you to provide the name of your computer AND your windows password for a windows logon:

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Now that made me very uncomfortable. No VPN provider has ever requested that before (for that matter this is the first time in my life that windows logon is demanded as part of an installation process). And Xerobank is nothing but OpenVPN with which does not require your windows logon – ever. So why has Xerobank added this to its installation procedure? With both my local IP, my computer name and windows Logon, Xerobank has complete access to my computer at any time, particularly when I’m shutdown but still connected to the internet. This is a hacker’s dream! At this point after the harrowing installation process I’m rather wary of continuing but since I am committed to testing this VPN provider, I will go ahead. But you can be sure that I will change my windows logon as soon as I complete this test, uninstall the application and run some malware scans.

From a privacy point of view, I would never use Xerobank again. I’m sure that they will respond and say this is part of the installation and they don’t have access to my password, but really why make this part of an installation process in the first place? It is just too suspicious for words. Here they are calling themselves a bank to instill trust, when clearly they are not, and then get my windows logon? There is a contradiction here and I don’t like it one bit.

Finally the installation completed xB VPN is installing the VPN drivers:

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If you permit it to open the application on your desktop at the end of the execution it pops up.

Xerobank provides you with an icon on your desktop. From the icon you can open the application or exit the VPN program.

Software/GUI: ★★★☆☆ 

After download and execution of the Xerobank program, you click on the desktop icon (I had to search for it in program files and move it to the desktop) and lo and behold you get the standard OpenVPN GUI. No Xerobank technology here. Just the standard fare from OpenVPN.org:

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Xerobank claims that the connection is a double hop in this case connecting to USA to Canada. Well the host is a standard US hosting service we all know – The Planet.

And the second IP found in the Log, 67.159.55.51 is the remote link:

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Also a well known hosting company in the USA. But no sign of the Canada hop which Xerobank claims it uses in this connection:

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As you can see above, the first attempts to get the GUI to work failed. I tried various server combinations and made sure I opened the application with admin permission, but no success. So I went to the QuickStart Guide for New Users:

http://support.xerobank.com/wiki/doku.php?id=quickstart_guide_for_new_users.

WINDOWS USERS
Download the XeroBank Installer, and it will setup xB Browser, xB VPN, and xB Mail. That is all you have to do. xB Browser is not required, but it can help maintain additional privacy against websites that try to plant cookies and bugs on your machine. xB VPN is used for accessing your anonymous Private Internet service. If you select to install the xB Mail component, your account will already be programmed into the mail client that provide thesis writing services. If you have not setup Encrypted eMail service, the installer will prompt you to create a PIN code to protect your account, and an email address.

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Amazingly in the Xerobank quick start guide it points you to a thesis writing service:

http://www.dissertations.superiorpapers.com/

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which is a scam for cheating on dissertations to obtain degrees at the undergrad, master and PhD level. A few lines down in the same guide is another similar scam to write custom papers for ‘original’ academic papers. Hmmmm, this is looking worse and worse. Do you really want to trust your privacy and security to an entity that calls itself a bank and sells scam dissertations and academic papers? Are you going to trust your data on their servers? Not me! And I still don’t have any guidance on making the GUI work.

One thing I did learn from the Quick start guide is that if you go over your bandwidth limits per month you are automatically billed and your account debited. If there is nothing in the account, you have to purchase overdraft credits. This is a feature to rebill you not only monthly but also as you exceed bandwidth limits. They have it both ways. Not something any other VPN we have reviewed does by the way and another negative in my book.

Updates: Xerobank provides updates for their installation software.

Ease of Use: ★★★☆☆ 

Difficult and intrusive installation. Standard OpenVPN GUI is not very convenient to use as nothing can be automated.

Features: ★½☆☆☆ 

Xerobank has no features in its application. It’s just the standard OpenVPN GUI with the list of servers to choose from.

Server Network: Location, Availability & Speed: ★★½☆☆ 

Xerobank has a network of servers in 4 countries with OpenVPN. Xerobank has servers in the US, Canada, Netherlands, and France. No other exit IPs were found. None of the servers are in non-cooperative or off shore jurisdictions so from a security point of view this VPN does provide you with true anonymity (if you use the off shore servers for sensitive activities). Xerobank claims that a large number of servers sit behind their “Onyx” network, but we have not found any evidence of this network. We have asked Xerobank permission to test their servers, but that permission has not been granted. (We don’t accept the argument that it’s so anonymous that an independent verification cannot take place – real secure systems stand up to any checks – bogus ones don’t)

We suspect that it’s really quite a simple network configuration obfuscated with this mumbo jumbo called “Onyx” but we would be happy to be proven wrong.

One of the problems we have with Xerobank is that what can be tested demonstrates that Xerobank is making false claims, so it’s difficult to accept that their server network is not just another false claim:

• Xerobank proprietary technology is in fact just OpenVPN.org standard
• The servers have limited exit nodes that can be tested and contradict Xerobank’s claims
• Rewriting the OpenVPN installation code to include the windows logon smacks of a scam
• Linking scam businesses to the company Quick guide is outrageous
• Calling yourself a bank without a license in these circumstances suggests a certain pattern of behavior
• Using an Iceland based payment provider at a time when Iceland is reeling from banking fraud schemes brought against Europeans is in the same pattern of behavior
• Billing for both monthly and bandwidth with unclear disclosure is more of the same

Also keep in mind that VPN providers that only have servers in cooperative jurisdictions cannot protect your data as it is transmitted across their servers. By definition a court order in cooperative regions can force Xerobank to log, cache and submit any information to local and international authorities not withstanding Xerobank’s current Privacy Policy to the contrary.

Example server Ping time: Xerobank Amsterdam, Netherlands server to LA, USA 179 ms ping time.
Without Xerobank the ping time was 152ms, so there was quite a bit of latency (10%) on this server test at 6.30PM EST.

Presale Support to Product Help & Support: ★☆☆☆☆ 

Although I did receive some presales automated responses, I never got any support after purchase of the product. Essentially this company provides no support.

Scope of Protection:

Protocols: ★★★½☆ 

Utilizing standard VPN protocols, Xerobank changes your IP and provides you with a dynamic IP generated from any of its servers. Each time you connect, you will receive another IP address. This is good security but it has the downside that if you want to connect to PayPal or to your credit card merchant with a VPN and your IP changes every time you connect, PayPal will likely put your account on hold because they are suspicious of changing IP addresses. Its best to use a VPN that provides both shared and a fixed IP so that you are safe but can deal with your shopping online in a convenient way.

Protocols: OpenVPN

Xerobank does not support IPv6 or port forwarding.

Encryption: Pending Test

Encryption Strength Specified: 256 Bit AES

The effectiveness of any VPN provider is dependent on how effective is the encryption. Our independent encryption Test of Xerobank is to be completed and will be posted here then.

Server Security: Pending Test

Permission not granted to date.

Privacy: ★★☆☆☆ 

Xerobank Privacy Policy states that Username, email address and IP is stored and that VPN IP addresses are also stored. They also say that the data is on their system for 30 days, suggesting, but not stating explicitly that the personal data is then deleted. There is no way to verify what they log and cache.

What was most disturbing is Xerobank’s Law Enforcement page:

https://xerobank.com/company/leo/

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Xerobank is catering to Law Enforcement. All other security companies keep this information private and difficult to access. Instead Xerobank flaunts it at their site. At the same time warning non law enforcement persons that “All views on this page are logged..” i.e., your IP is logged by Xerobank for daring to look at this page.

That everyone’s that sees this page is logged is an indication of the thinking behind Xerobank and goes hand in hand with the request for the Windows logon. The privacy policy makes no mention of the windows logon, however. These two points suggest that the privacy policy is not to be relied upon.

Xerobank (XB) VPN Review Summary

Xerobank is not what the website would like you to believe it is. When you add all the misrepresentations that the company makes with links to scam businesses, the ruse to obtain your windows logon, use of an Iceland payment provider and the lack of disclosure about monthly billing plus bandwidth billing, you get the feeling that the deeper one looks, the worse it could get. I definitely would not recommend this VPN service (this is the first such negative review) and if you were unfortunate enough, like me, to download the installer, uninstall, run a good malware and change all your windows logon credentials.

Xerobank (XB) VPN PROS:
• Standard OpenVPN GUI with improved installation (files don’t have to be manually placed in the config file)
• Unlimited Free switching between servers (4 countries)

Xerobank (XB) VPN CONS:
• Standard OpenVPN application with no features
• Exit servers only in 4 countries and all in cooperative regions
• Latency in excess of 10% on server tests that are generally less than 5%
• Claimed network configuration cannot be verified and appears to be of the same credibility as the intellectual property claimed- but which is nothing more than open source OpenVPN
• Installation procedure demands user windows logon credentials which OpenVPN does not require – No one requires your windows logon credentials for any reason other than to have a back door into your computer. We cannot recommend this service to anyone.
• Quick Guide and tutorials link to scam businesses – Fake dissertations for universities
• Use of an Iceland payment provider. Iceland is not off shore it’s merely bankrupt.
• Billing – you can be billed monthly AND if you exceed bandwidth limitations. And it’s recurring!
• Support never answered any emails queries posed to them. It appears there is no support.
• Dynamic IP with no Fixed IPs for using with PayPal & Credit Card merchants
• Does not support IPv6
• Does not provide a fastest server in the application- so you can’t chose a server with low latency
• Aggressively provides information to police enforcement agencies which contradicts the spirit if not the language of the privacy policy
• Some users complain that Firefox Geo Location defeats Xerobank’s anonymity
• Poor FAQs, very limited Troubleshooting, No support
• No automation on start up, several clicks to start which is tiresome if you restart your VPN several times a day
• Although there is an extensive team at the website, there appears to be no active involvement in the company other than by Steve Topletz

Editor’s Rating
Order to Installation
Software/GUI
Ease of Use
Features
Network & Speed
Help & Support
Scope of Protection
Overall Rating

Features Overview

Xerobank VPN Service Description
Price: 35 USD per month
Bandwidth Limitations: 75 Gb per month
Server Locations: US
Data Logging: No
VPN Protocols: OpenVPN
Encryption Strength: 256-bit AES, 2048-bit Diffie-Hellman authentication
Public IP: Shared
Other features: Channel multiplexing, crowding, traffic padding, and other anonymity technologies to deliver powerful anonymity
Payment Methods: CC
Test Account: 30 days for 1 USD
Moneyback Guarantee: ?
Xerobank VPN TOS & Privacy Policy
p2p Allowed: ?
Mass-mail Allowed: No
Personal Data Collected: Not collected
Xerobank VPN Company Information
Location: US, Panama
In business since 2007
Other Security Products: XB browser, encrypted mail

Information incomplete or incorrect? Please let me know!

4 User Reviews »

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